To spark your company’s thinking about crypto, here are some of the rationales behind why some companies are currently using crypto:
- Crypto may provide access to new demographic groups. Users often represent a more cutting-edge clientele that values transparency in their transactions. One recent study found that up to 40% of customers who pay with crypto are new customers of the company, and their purchase amounts are twice those of credit card users.
- Introducing crypto now may help spur internal awareness in your company about this new technology. It also may help position the company in this important emerging space for a future that could include central bank digital currencies.
- Crypto could enable access to new capital and liquidity pools through traditional investments that have been tokenized, as well as to new asset classes.
- Crypto furnishes certain options that are simply not available with fiat currency. For example, programmable money can enable real-time and accurate revenue-sharing while enhancing transparency to facilitate back-office reconciliation.
- More companies are finding that important clients and vendors want to engage by using crypto. Consequently, your business may need to be positioned to receive and disburse crypto to assure smooth exchanges with key stakeholders.
- Crypto provides a new avenue for enhancing a host of more traditional Treasury activities, such as:
- Enabling simple, real-time, and secure money transfers
- Helping strengthen control over the capital of the enterprise
- Managing the risks and opportunities of engaging in digital investments
- Crypto may serve as an effective alternative or balancing asset to cash, which may depreciate over time due to inflation. Crypto is an investable asset, and some, such as bitcoin, have performed exceedingly well over the past five years. There are, of course, clear volatility risks that need to be thoughtfully considered.
Some companies use crypto just to facilitate payments. One avenue to facilitate payments is to simply convert in and out of crypto to fiat currency to receive or make payments without actually touching it. In other words, the company is taking a “hands-off” approach that keeps crypto off the books.
Enabling crypto payments, such as bitcoin, without bringing it onto the company’s balance sheet may be the easiest and fastest entry point into the use of digital assets. It may require the fewest adjustments across the spectrum of corporate functions and may serve immediate goals, such as reaching a new clientele and growing the volume of each sales transaction. Enterprises adopting this limited use of crypto typically rely on third-party vendors.
The third-party vendor, acting as an agent for the company, accepts or makes payments in crypto through conversion into and out of fiat currency. This may be the simplest option to pursue. And, in all likelihood, it may cause relatively few disruptions to a company’s internal functions, since the “hands-off” approach keeps crypto off the corporate balance sheet.
The third-party vendor, which will charge a fee for this service, handles the bulk of the technical questions and manages a number of risk, compliance, and controls issues on behalf of the company. That does not mean, however, that the company is necessarily absolved from all responsibility for risk, compliance, and internal controls issues. Companies still need to pay careful attention to issues such as anti-money laundering and know your customer (AML and KYC) requirements. And, of course, they also need to abide by any restrictions set by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the agency that administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions set by the US government.